Monday, December 10, 2012

Unexpected Week

I hate repeating cliche saying but I have to admit that "when it rains it pours"! This week has been one of the bittersweet realizations that life can create unexpected surprises that can turn plans, work, parenting, and blogging upside down. The gap in my blogging resulted from a very tough sick week! Prepare yourself for a long story and my terrible anger toward the medical system.  WARNING: This blog is a rant!

I am a mother of two beautiful kids! My little girl is almost three and my son is four ( yes, yes, "Irish twins" I know- I get that all the time). Every parent knows that when their kids enter the wonderful realm of daycare along with education and socialization they share every germ possible with their peers. Therefore this year has been a repetitive trend of stuffy noses, sore throats, infections. My kids are great at getting over the cold and flu quickly, their sick and grouchy one day and the next they are running and playing. Me- not so much, I have a sick child, I take care of them, I hug them and kiss them, I get sick...and the next day still sick and the next, and the next, and the next. I actually typically get the dragged on crappy feeling of all the symptoms for two weeks.

SO when my daughter came home from daycare with a fever last Friday, I thought that with a little care, medicine and rest she will be good in no time. Yet her fever went up! My husband and I were shocked to see the thermometer read over 104! We gave her medicine, rocked her to sleep but with no success, her fever went down just a bit but stayed high...we gave it one more day, tried giving her water, tea, food, more medicine, yet nothing helped.  We called the doctor (this is Friday night so we call the on-call doc) and they said that with medicine her fever should go down in a few days, that there is a common virus going around and that she will be fine.  So the weekend passes, my daughter is up every hour crying and feeling terrible, we spent three days with no sleep and her fever consistently remained high. Monday comes around ( this is day 4 of this horrible fever), my husband takes the day off work and we take her to the doctor...the doctor looks at my daughter, says that everyone gets sick, give her medicine she'll be fine.  My husband calls me and tells me the doctors response and at this point I blow up! I am running on fumes with a total of 4 hours of sleep in 4 days and my patience is short...there is NO WAY that having a fever of 104 is OK and that there is nothing that can be done about it. I call the doctor and ask what can we do? Yet I get the same response.  At this point I am lost, I have to make my daughter better! I come home after work, take my daughter in my arms and notice that she is scratching her ear...suddenly the ear starts leaking blood and pus! OH MY GOD! I am freaking out, my daughter is crying, her fever is extremely high, her ear is bleeding, as a mother I am thinking everything..."Meningitis, she will go into a seizure, etc.".  I call the doctor...again this is after their working hours so the on-call doctor says, oh...well it sounds like an ear infection, just bring her in tomorrow. Again, I freak out..."why tomorrow? should we go to the ER?, she is really hot". The doctor simply says, well you can go to the ER but you'll most likely wait four to 5 hours and they will have you see us in the morning anyway.

At this point I call my colleague at work and ask her to refer me to her family physician so that we can seek a second opinion. I call her doctors office and enter a two hour conversation with the scheduling office that asks me 45 questions about our insurance...her computer is slow so every answer is processed for 10 minutes at a time. I am walking around with a sick child in my arms, on the phone with a scheduler who is chewing gum and asking me about insurance! She said that before she can even schedule an appointment she has to have this info or else my daughter cannot be seen. I tell her "please hurry this process", I ask her if I can email her a scanned version of the insurance card? I try everything to simply schedule another doctor to see my child...yet no, she is following a process that must be followed exactly. At the 45 minute mark, I give up...I just have to go back to our original doctors office.

So the saga continued through the night, my child is hot, not sleeping, ear is bleeding, I am freaking out! First thing in the morning we call the doctor and schedule an appointment. They tell me that the only doctor available for a same day appointment is the one that saw her on Monday and said nothing was wrong, yet lo and behold her ear ruptured!  I ask for another doctor to see my daughter, and tell them that my trust in the first one is gone. They say, "sorry, you can try to schedule an appointment on tomorrow".  Now my patience is up...I have never screamed at the phone or blown up publicly in my life but this was the day to do it. I say: "My daughter has a high fever for the fifth day, her ear is BLEEDING, she has had nothing to eat for almost a week...DO YOU THINK I WANT TO SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT TOMORROW!" Finally, the secretary gives. She said that she will make sure that our off-duty doctor comes in to see my little girl. We come in, and of course my daughter has a severe ear infection...we got antibiotics and by the evening, my daughter actually stopped crying and ate something.

On a side note, after this chaos was over, my son came home sick the next day and we had to take the rest of the week off, taking shifts with my husband to take care of  both my recovering daughter and my now sick with a fever son (Oh sleep, where are you?)

Yet, although I am SO relieved that both my kids are ok  am still seething mad at the medical system.  First, the doctor that saw my daughter treated her as an item on a conveyor belt in a factory- he stamped on a diagnosis without ever looking for other issues. He was so sure of his diagnosis that our frantic calls did not raise any concern. With a simple observation, the problem could have been treated early and not caused as many complications we needed to deal with for a full week. Second, even after realizing the issue and being called out on it, the doctor kept saying that the ear infection was not there when he saw her...unfortunately we talked with another doctor and they said that with the amount of fluid coming out of her ear, this inflammation would be impossible to miss. So now I have a doctor that not only failed to diagnose correctly but is lying to my face. Third, the whole process of picking my daughter up out of bed, carrying her to the various doctors offices, going there back and forth several times, waiting in the waiting room, waiting in the actual office, waiting to fill the perscription with a child that is barely alive from weakness is ridiculous!  I know that we are past the days where a doctor visited a patient at home, but the whole time as I carried my daughter I kept thinking "why?". Do we not pay thousands of dollars for our insurance and medical care? Is it really normal to be dragging my daughter for hours to and from the doctors office? Is it really ok to have a pharmacy take 45 minutes to fill a prescription and make a person wait that long? 

I cannot express in words the emotions that I went through this past week! The toll this week has taken on my life, my relationship, my job is high and I went through so many thoughts ranging from care, my own childhood memories of my mother caring for me, understanding how much i love my children and how deeply I would give anything to make them better, realizing my husband is also human and that I cannot put all the weight on him, and understanding how much pent up anger I actually have.  I hope that I have some people that can relate to my post and would love to hear their stories. Logically, post factum, I understand and can come up with answers to my questions and appease my anger, but as a mother I will continue to hate this system and hope with all my might I can keep my kids as healthy as possible so we can avoid dealing with it!

No comments:

Post a Comment